Maria had been a cosmetologist for eight years when she decided she was ready for a career change. Knowing she wanted to study IT, the Humboldt Park native headed to Wright College.

“I’m always the go-to person to fix my family and friends’ computers, so I already knew it was something that I was good at and liked doing.”

After graduating from Noble Street Charter High School in 2003, Maria attended a university for one year before she left to have her son. After that, she went to cosmetology school and worked in the industry for almost a decade, but she always felt like she wanted to finish what she started and get her degree. She wants to be an example for her son, now 13 years old, to show him that he has a chance to go to college and be successful.

With Wright College serving as City Colleges’ center of excellence in IT, Maria came to the right place. She’s studying networking systems and is spearheading the creation of a student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery to help provide guidance and mentorship to students who are thinking about a career in the computing field.

Maria has also landed a summer internship at SDI Presence, focusing on cyber security, after learning about the opportunity at a job fair hosted by Wright’s Career Center.

As for what Maria plans to do next, she’s still figuring it out. For now, she is focused on getting her associate degree in spring of 2019 and getting into a career in IT.